So what could get the White House back on its feet? According to the 25th amendment, Fitz can resume the presidency by submitting a letter of reinstatement to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House. Once submitted, the Vice President and the Cabinet then have four days to either accept or challenge the President’s assertion that he is no longer incapacitated and is ready to resume duties.
Following these procedures, when Mellie hears that Hollis may have had a hand in Fitz’s assassination, she decides to forge Fitz’s signature on a letter of reinstatement.
There’s just one problem (or, rather, one other problem on top of the problem of the forgery): Fitz is still unresponsive and the doctors on his case are not entirely sure when or if he will wake up. Cyrus jokes that he and Mellie can run the country together until Fitz recovers; when Woodrow Wilson suffered a stroke that nearly incapacitated him in 1919, his Chief of Staff and First Lady Edith Wilson essentially ran the country for the remainder of his term, keeping him away from the eyes of journalists and his Cabinet. So the idea is not totally implausible – if it were the early 1900s. Unfortunately for Team Fitz, under today’s intense media scrutiny, there’s no way to hide such a disability. So, instead, Olivia and her team get to work telling various half-truths to Sally and the media to hide their big lie.
But at the end of the day, if Fitz doesn’t wake up in time to prove to the world that he’s ready to take over the presidency, Mellie’s forgery will quickly be revealed. And that reveal could have disastrous consequences for everyone involved. Mellie, Cyrus, and Olivia could all be tried for a combination of forgery, perjury, and conspiracy. And if Fitz is in any way implicated, it could be grounds for an investigation with a special prosecutor, perhaps a Congressional hearing, and maybe even impeachment.
Fortunately for our people, Fitz wakes up just as the team is beginning to run out of options. But they’re not totally out of hot water quite yet. Sally refuses to accept the letter of reinstatement due to strong suspicions about Mellie’s forgery. If Sally continues to pursue those suspicions, even though Fitz is awake, the team may still have to face the consequences of their actions.
Fitz’s first word to Olivia upon waking up was a simple “Hi.” But he’ll have several more words next week for everyone involved in the forgery of the letter…stay tuned!